If you are part of a blended family, you know that communication and boundaries are necessary. In addition to trying to keep children happy, you are communicating with adults who decided to end their marital relationship and now must find a way to get along for the sake of raising children. Continue reading to discover communication and etiquette tips for blended families.
A blended family is a husband and wife who have children from previous relationships and bring them into their family. These families are also referred to as stepfamily, bonus children, and also include biological children of the couple.
Surprisingly, it is not unusual for a bonus family to include the ex-spouses or partners of the couple in the blended family. For some, communicating with exes is difficult but the foundation of blended families. However, some etiquette and communication tips are below to help.
Be Open with Communicating with the Ex
Your ex-wife may no longer be the apple of your eye. However, she is the mother of your children, and therefore, a relationship with her is necessary. Therefore, you must have effective ways of communicating with her which is the foundation of a happy blended family.
If you want to learn how to get along with your ex wife, understand that communication is key and vital. You will have to use language that is affirming and conducive to having a great relationship with your children and raising them in the healthiest atmosphere possible. That includes:
- Talking without yelling, cursing, or using foul language.
- Do not use accusatory language.
- Do not talk about what went wrong in your past relationship.
Be Open To Counseling
Most people shy away from therapy or counseling. However, if you are part of a blended family, it may be necessary to seek counseling to help you through the process of a successful blended family.
In addition to you and your new spouse getting involved in therapy, it may be a good idea for your ex-wife to be included in the counseling sessions with you and your new wife. Therapy or counseling is a great place for you three or four adults to discuss co-parenting in the new blended family environment. You can talk about your goals in raising children in two homes and what you expect from one another.
Counseling between many adults could get hectic so it is best to start slow. Instead of all adults meeting at one time, it may be best for it to begin with any one of the adults and then others come in slowly. That also means that counseling could be ongoing until you have a co-parenting or blended family groove that works for everyone.
Keep Your Business Private
Aside from counseling from a therapist, pastor, or doctor, for blended families to work, the adults involved should make a conscious decision to not share their business with others. It is not to say that family and friends don’t mean you well, however, they do not live in your home and don’t understand the dynamics of your family.
Keeping your family business private will help you focus and make decisions without having others’ opinions in your head. Your decisions will be based solely on what is best for you and your blended family. Committing to privacy will give you room to focus on creating a happy blended family.
Value All Members of Your Blended Family
If your bonus children only come to your house every other weekend, it is easy to forget about their opinions and wishes. However, you want them to feel welcome and like this is their home also. That means valuing them and the things they like. For instance, when grocery shopping, purchase items that they enjoy. If they don’t like spearmint toothpaste, make sure that their bathroom is stocked with other flavors. Value everything about them so that when they are with you, they feel a welcome as they do at their other home.
As you have read, blended families can be difficult to adjust to and it is not simply adjusting to the kids involved. Having a relationship with your ex-wife is vital. The tips listed above are just the start of some of the communication and etiquette tips that will help guide your blended family towards a harmonious relationship.